Bonzo, Wherefore Art Thou?

Enduring the Bush administration’s apocalyptic meta-fuckup of everything it touches has been, in five short years, enough excruciation to last fifty lifetimes. It is like being vomited upon by a legion of bilious ants. Unless you happen to be from Iraq or Afghanistan, in which case it is like being strapped to a board and partially drowned, then having your scrotum wired into a 110 circuit. So it is some small satisfaction, though far too hard-won, to observe at last the mastodon of Neoconservative, pea-hearted venality blundering into the tarpits of inevitability. About time. It’s been a hell of a week, but is it the beginning of the end for Bush?

This week, videotape of the president, days prior to the disaster, listening in Ritalin-doped silence to FEMA personnel describing precisely what is about to happen to New Orleans, that once-chocolate metropolis, has emerged. Bush listens and listens as it is all described. All that is about to happen as Hurricane Katrina rampages through the streets of that fabled river town is detailed with chilling accuracy. He responds at the end of the briefing fulsomely and without equivocation of any kind: everything will be done. All is under control. As with any situation in which Bush makes such a proclamation, the exact opposite of his reassurances is what occurred. He is like a compass that points due South and thus indicates the way to North.

Also this week, Iraq began its civil war in earnest. Dozens are dying every day now as what is described by the news media as ‘sectarian violence’ (but which is in fact precisely the same kind of brutality that happened in Kosovo, for example; not so much sectarian violence as good old-fashioned ethnic cleansing by the fellows we trained and armed). One of the holiest of holies, the Golden Mosque, has been blown up. Suicide bombers are experiencing long lines at the Baghdad Radio Shack, where even the most rudimentary detonators are going for ten times their retail value. Administration officials are trying to put a brave face on things, claiming it’s already settling down over there. But they’re saying this huddled in bunkers, so one suspects the situation is well and completely out of control. This represents another difficult situation for the Bushmaster.

Then there’s the poll that came out this week. Mind you, polls always lie. But this one lies the right way. Bush is down to roughly the worst numbers he’s ever had, popularity-wise, on every front they ask questions about. The American public, or at least a thousand-odd members of same, plus or minus 3%, regard Bush with the same esteem they reserve for persistent itching in the bikini area.

But the biggest news item that lies on Bush’s plate like a heap of goat raisins is the scandal some idiot is probably calling ‘Portgate’: the administration has spent five years drumming up intense race-hatred of Muslims of any kind amongst the American populace; having achieved fever pitch in this area of business, they then astoundingly decided it would be hunky-dory for a bunch of keffiyeh-wearing sons of the sand to run five of America’s most important seaports. Whoops-a-daisy! People responded badly. And Bush, because he is as blinkered as a dead brewer’s dray, first claimed to know nothing about the deal, then immediately insisted it was 100% kosher (or halal) and threatened his first-ever veto if anybody stood in the way of the deal.

You’re either with us, or with the enemy, that’s the way it works now. Fur or agin. Bush managed to align himself with the enemy. No matter that it’s a Red Sea herring. I’ll take a disaster for Bush whether it’s legitimate or not. What’s important is he has shown a complete absence of political savvy on any front whatsoever, in addition to getting petarded hoist-fashion on a number of issues that have been bubbling away in the background like periapical abcesses. I wonder if Karl Rove has died? Perhaps he was shot during last week’s scandal, when ‘Dead Eye’ Dick Cheney was running amok with a shotgun and a bellyful of Budweiser. It doesn’t matter. The important thing is that Bush has had a signally shitty week, and given that his abominable poll numbers emerged from polls taken the previous, not-quite-as-bad week, he’s got nowhere to go but down.

The danger, as ever, is that the Democrats will continue wringing their hands and widdling their lederhosen rather than seize the carp, letting opportunity pass; and the news media, which has made such an investment in Bush, will do everything they can to get that comeback narrative started. In the meantime, however, enjoy the schadenfreude. It may be all we ever get.

BEN TRIPP is an independent filmmaker and all-around swine. His book, Square In The Nuts, may be purchased here, with other outlets to follow: His favorite animal is the rhinoceros. Mr. Tripp may be reached at


Ben Tripp is America’s leading pseudo-intellectual. His most recent book is The Fifth House of the Heart.